John 11:1-46 is the miraculous account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. The statement Jesus makes in verse four is very interesting. He tells His disciples, "This illness does not lead to death". Lazarus died before Jesus made his way to see him and his sisters. In fact, verse 17 reveals that when Jesus arrived in Bethany Lazarus had been in the tomb four days. Had Jesus misdiagnosed Lazarus illness? He said that the illness would not lead to death, but Lazarus died.Jesus was absolutely correct! Lazarus' illness did not lead to death! It lead him through death!
Think about that! What are you facing today? Are you feeling like you're at the end of your rope? Does it seem like your world is coming to an end? Have you given up? If Jesus led Lazarus through death, then I'm sure he can lead me through anything.
"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land." Psalm 37:7-9
Fret not yourself because of evildoers, and be not envious of the wicked, for the evil man has no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out. Proverbs 24:19-20
Have you ever said that someone was getting on your nerves? Making you mad? Irritating you? Getting under your skin? Yes, the list could go on and on because I'm guilty of feeling this way from time to time. You know what I'm talking about, right?
Why do 'evil doers' seem to get all the breaks? They seem to be flourishing all around. Why do they 'prosper' even though they don't serve the Lord? Why do the 'wicked' seem to get what I wanted? Why do they get the job I wanted? Why do they get the house on the corner? Why do they drive the nicer car?
We would do well, to follow God's instruction in the above passages and 'fret not' over these things. Think about it, in Psalm 37:1-2 God says the 'evildoers' will 'soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb'. The success of the wicked is momentary, it will not last. In Psalm 37:7-9 God tells us that the 'man who carries out evil' and the 'evildoers' will be 'cut off'. Their future is not nearly as bright as their present success. And then in Proverbs 24:19-20 God tells us that the 'evil man' has no future and the 'wicked's lamp' will be 'put out'. So considering all this, there really is no reason to for us to be envious of those who do not serve the Lord.
God tells us "fret not yourself" in these passages. It's something we do to ourselves.
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines 'Fret' as follows; to eat or gnaw into, corrode, fray, rub, chafe, to make by wearing away a substance (the stream fretted a channel), to cause to suffer emotional strain, to eat into something, to affect something as if by gnawing or biting, to become vexed or worried, to become agitated.
Why would we do this to ourselves?
In Psalm 37:8 God tells us "Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil".
There is no positive outcome to our fretting.
In the middle of these passages telling us not to fret, God gives us great instruction on what we should be doing...
"Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;" Psalm 37:3-7a
Stop doing that to yourself! Stop fretting! Start "Delighting Yourself" in the Lord! Trust Him! Commit to Him! Be still (content) before Him! Wait for Him!
Walking out my front door I spotted the rain that had collected on the leaves of our plants this past week. The thought crossed my mind that while I had slept the night away, God had walked through my garden provided everything necessary for this wonderful tree to thrive. If He will provide the refreshing rains to water the trees then surely He will take care of my needs too. Isn't God amazing! There is evidence of His presence and provision all around us if we'd only take the time to notice.
Matthew 6:25-34 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
What are you stressed about today? Is God already taking care of your needs? Are you thanking Him for what He has done and provided for you? Are you so focused on your wants that your missing the fact that your needs have been met?
I've been enjoying our new Bible study for men on Wednesday nights, The Sevens. We're covering specific relevant topics each week and challenging our men to be 'faithful men who will teach others'. We close each study with 'The Sevens' which is simply seven passages of scripture that relates to the topic at hand, one for each day of the coming week. The guys are doing a great job keeping up with their reading and sharing the devotions with their family or friends. It has been a very good investment of my Wednesday nights!
This week I asked Shawn to drive over to Treasure Island and be my body guard while I did some night photography. We really live in one of the most beautiful areas in the world both in natural wonders and man made sights. The lights of the San Francisco skyline are incredible! The ride to and from the city was a tremendous blessing for me. Shawn is usually very quiet and so it was nice to be able to just chat with hime for a while and hear what God is doing in his life. I'm so fortunate to be able to share my life and ministry with guys like this.
One of the things I am working on personally is setting aside time to just hang out with some of the great people God has placed in my life. It's crazy, but sometimes we get so busy with the work of the ministry that we forget that ministry is about people and therefore we need to spend time with people.
Have a great weekend! Kathy and I are celebrating our 24th Wedding Anniversary! God is so good!
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.